20-Finestre-RTRVH6G-2005

Dirty Romantics

Dirty Romantics

by / / 43 posts

We’re into day three of the Six Days of the Giro series, and it’s time to hit the dirt.

If ever a Keepers Tour goes to Italy, then we’re doing this climb. No doubt. Climbing on gravel up a real mountain, what’s not to love?

In fact, you could probably do an entire Italian Gravé KT, such are the number of iconic dirt roads in the country’s great races. The Gavia (before they went and ruined it with tarmac), Plan Des Corones, Strade Bianche, they’ve all seen their share of legendary racing on their unpaved surfaces, but the one that stands out most for me is the Colle delle Finestre.

Coming from a mountain bike background, the notion of racing road bikes on dirt really tickled my fancy, as if it needed tickling anyway; so when the organisers of Il Giro announced they were sending Stage 19 of the 2005 race up the Finestre, well, we needed to witness that one live. But the month of May wasn’t on the radar of TV stations in Australia back then, and even July only got selective attention. If you were lucky enough (meaning you could afford it) to have pay tv, the genius idea was to subscribe to Italian station RAI for the month, and watch every stage of the Giro live, complete with Italian commentary. It didn’t matter if we weren’t proficient in the language, we could recognise the riders’ names, dammit.

So we gathered that Saturday night, with a gut-full of pizza and Nastro Azzuro to fuel us through the late/early hours. We had an interpreter, or so we told one of the gathered throng who spent the night believing the updates coming from the K-Man were actually genuine. “What are they saying now?” “Ah, still climbing.” “Getting tired.” “Di Luca still on the front.” To this day, that guy probably thinks Italian cycling commentators are the masters of stating the bleedin’ obvious.

What was bleedin’ obvious was that the racing was pretty good, but the spectacle on the mountain was amazing. Thousands lined the roadside and clung to craggy cliffs, creating a stadium-type atmosphere on the higher reaches of the Alpine pass. Being on the tail-end of the EPO era (I mean, Gonchar climbing with those guys? Come on!), the combatants rode the climb at a fast, even tempo; Di Luca, resplendent in all-white of the Pro Tour leader, never left the front for the entire climb, with Simoni and Rujano (an Evanescent if ever there was one) in wheels two and three. They never budged. Maglia Rosa Savoldelli was losing time each kilometre, and Simoni was virtual leader on the road as they summited. Il Falcone used his famed descending skills to pull back time on the descent and save his GC lead. Luckily, Frank wasn’t on the descent and Paolo made it down in one piece this time.

If the stage had finished on the gravelly summit, it would have been decisive, but just for shits and giggles they sent the riders up to Sestriere for some added cruelty. But the Finestre had made its mark on the race, and on me.

Full video of the climb and stage finish:

Oh yeah, they went up it again in 2011…

// Defining Moments // Le Graveur // Nostalgia // Racing // Six Days Of

  1. Great racing! We have a little gem here in P-Town called “Otto Miller”. It’s a soul crusher: 

  2. Hmmmm, that was a fantastic stage. I remember watching that. DiLuca in his all white kit. I liked him back then. He must have been well “prepared” that day. This is what separates the Giro from the Tour, epic stages like this one, festooned with fans right up to the sharp edged summit.

  3. Anatomy of this photo — FrancoPinkCastelliGuidoSpriteCocaCola74GiroVictory

    Franco Chioccioli, Guido Guerrini

  4. Just reread SABOTAGING THE SABOTEUR for first time in a long time.  While the story was funny enough on its own, well the introduction of @Adrian put it over the top.

  5. I just got this when I clicked on the link to Frank’s sabotage:

  6. @pakrat

    Just reread SABOTAGING THE SABOTEUR for first time in a long time. While the story was funny enough on its own, well the introduction of @Adrian put it over the top.

    Fuck me, that @adrian introduction and KitCarson’s Yoda replies are too damn funny, Jarvis too. We are a funny bunch when an Adrian stumbles into the room. Gold I say!

  7. An all-gravel KT would be hot!

  8. @G’rilla

    An all-gravel KT would be hot!

    No CX bikes though… I’m onto you.

  9. Cracking article and so addictive to watch that kind of stage. I was at the Tour of Turkey this year and had a long chat with Team Saxo Bank after the race and it was really interesting some of the things they were telling me. The most interesting thing was that they were running their Paris-Roubaix bikes for the whole of the ToT because the road conditions were deemed to be so bad. Got me to thinking about what kind of kit changes they make for such an interesting type of climb and surface as this? Is the only difference to the road bike the addition of some gatorskin type tyres in order to minimise punctures?

    Also if you really want to get close to the riders, as in sit and talk for a good 30 to 40 minutes then the Tour of Turkey is great for that especially the last stage in Istanbul. Pictures aren’t that great as I was chatting and completely forgot to get some taken with me, oh well next year!

  10. @brett Great article. Stick that into the Italian KT itinerary and I’ll definitely be there.

    There’s something about riding in the mountains, the sense of remoteness, that really adds to the occasion. To do it properly, the KT Ghiaia Del Colle Delle Finestre would have to be done without a SAG wagon.

  11. Nice work, Brett.

    Someday I’ll get back to Italy and hopefully it’ll be in May. Last time was to play futbol, this time it’ll be to watch and ride bicycles!

  12. exception 'ImagickException' with message 'unable to open image `/nas/wp/www/cluster-40013/velominati//wp-content/plugins/dm-albums/php/image.php?degrees=0&scale=yes&width=600&height=700&quality=85&maintain_aspect=yes&rounding=nearest&image=/home/frankdstrack/velominati.com/wp-content/uploads/readers/scaler911/2013.05.08.21.33.05/2/IMG_4677.JPG': No such file or directory @ error/blob.c/OpenBlob/2638' in /nas/wp/www/cluster-40013/velominati/wp-content/themes/velominati/generics.php:1269 Stack trace: #0 /nas/wp/www/cluster-40013/velominati/wp-content/themes/velominati/generics.php(1269): Imagick->__construct('/nas/wp/www/clu...') #1 [internal function]: dm_replace_image_embeds('

    start_el('?display_element(Object(stdClass), Array, 1, 0, Array, '?@scaler911

    Great racing! We have a little gem here in P-Town called “Otto Miller”. It’s a soul crusher:

    Jesus, that climb must have grades of at least 60% per that graph! 

    Just giving you shit but I cannot resist pointing out one of my pet peeves with cycling where they post graphs of the climbs that show anywhere from 30 to 75% grades on the graphs when they are actually, at most, 25%.  Does anyone really believe that the climbas are that steep?  Am I missing something?

     

    But the pic below looks like heaven on a 28mm tub road bike!!!

  13. @Gianni

    Hmmmm, that was a fantastic stage. I remember watching that. DiLuca in his all white kit. I liked him back then. He must have been well “prepared” that day. This is what separates the Giro from the Tour, epic stages like this one, festooned with fans right up to the sharp edged summit.

    That was a classy kit – despite the white bibs. He somehow made that all look very good. That guy is definitely an aesthete if ever there was one!

    Despite being a serial Rule #14 and Rule #15 violator, he always has managed to look good doing it.

    Slideshow:

    Fullscreen:

    And who doesn’t love his Bianchi EV4 setup?

  14. exception 'ImagickException' with message 'unable to open image `/nas/wp/www/cluster-40013/velominati//wp-content/plugins/dm-albums/php/image.php?degrees=0&scale=yes&width=600&height=700&quality=85&maintain_aspect=yes&rounding=nearest&image=/home/frankdstrack/velominati.com/wp-content/uploads/readers/scaler911/2013.05.08.21.33.05/2/IMG_4677.JPG': No such file or directory @ error/blob.c/OpenBlob/2638' in /nas/wp/www/cluster-40013/velominati/wp-content/themes/velominati/generics.php:1269 Stack trace: #0 /nas/wp/www/cluster-40013/velominati/wp-content/themes/velominati/generics.php(1269): Imagick->__construct('/nas/wp/www/clu...') #1 [internal function]: dm_replace_image_embeds('

    start_el('?display_element(Object(stdClass), Array, 1, 0, Array, '?@scaler911

    Great racing! We have a little gem here in P-Town called “Otto Miller”. It’s a soul crusher:

    That is a beauty. Is that on the Cogal route?

  15. I’m fucking psyched out of my mind about gravel this season. The passes out near Mozama are loose enough that a CX bike will be needed with 33mm speed tires, and I can not wait. Combine that with some singletrack in sections to make things truly diabolical and I can’t imagine a more fun way to submit yourself to a day on the bike.

    I am particularly crazed since Veloforma just sent me the proofs on the paint job they’re doing for my Graveur.

  16. exception 'ImagickException' with message 'unable to open image `/nas/wp/www/cluster-40013/velominati//wp-content/plugins/dm-albums/php/image.php?degrees=0&scale=yes&width=600&height=700&quality=85&maintain_aspect=yes&rounding=nearest&image=/home/frankdstrack/velominati.com/wp-content/uploads/readers/scaler911/2013.05.08.21.33.05/2/IMG_4677.JPG': No such file or directory @ error/blob.c/OpenBlob/2638' in /nas/wp/www/cluster-40013/velominati/wp-content/themes/velominati/generics.php:1269 Stack trace: #0 /nas/wp/www/cluster-40013/velominati/wp-content/themes/velominati/generics.php(1269): Imagick->__construct('/nas/wp/www/clu...') #1 [internal function]: dm_replace_image_embeds('

    start_el('?display_element(Object(stdClass), Array, 1, 0, Array, '?@scaler911

    Great racing! We have a little gem here in P-Town called “Otto Miller”. It’s a soul crusher:

    Oooohhhh…the main climb to Smoke Ranch segment is almost as steep as Newberry (which I know well enough) and almost twice as long. On gravel. Groan-worthy.

  17. Can’t wait to get this bad girl out on some gravel.

  18. @Buck Rogers

    Ya it’s heaven alright. Torture. ANd it is pretty steep too, tho I do agree with you about the graphs. I usually find that they’re steeper on the road than they tell you when using say “mapmyride” to plan out a route. PDX Cogal #1 was a good example of that.

  19. @frank

    No. It’s just out of PDX. But I can take you there when you come down next month. ~100K round trip from my place, and I did it on my regular road rig. Just have to stay in the “tracks”.

  20. Com on guys! verticals aren’t to scale, they are hugely exaggerated.  Unless you were climbing Everest, a map to scale would more/less be a flat line over a 120km route.

  21. I’ve found ridewithgps.com to be the most accurate with regard to elevation and grades.  I notified Strava this morning that they have a 125m climb incorrect in that it only crosses 2 40′ contour lines.  They also have my max climb as a little over 10m high.  Not to be trusted absolutely, that’s for sure.

  22. @frank

    Whoa, that’s gonna be sick!

  23. @Tartan1749

    I’ve found ridewithgps.com to be the most accurate with regard to elevation and grades. I notified Strava this morning that they have a 125m climb incorrect in that it only crosses 2 40″² contour lines. They also have my max climb as a little over 10m high. Not to be trusted absolutely, that’s for sure.

    Yeah, for planning out new rides I think ridewithgps is more accurate than mapmyride. The site interface is way better as well.

    Likewise, Strava has my max climb as something like 300m, when I’ve done a local a 1,000m climb several times now.

  24. @Buck Rogers Yah, thats a fun one! did that on my single speed cross bike last year( had to run 100 meters of the steepest  bit, lost traction. ) lovely countryside, and the roads getting there are filled with awesome too!

  25. Okay, who is the resident Italian speaker? On RAI what is the commentator telling me when he talks about “corredore”? Corridor…a lead-out train? A lined-out peloton? A small passage through which the racers must navigate?

    Fill me in, please!

  26. @frank wonderful looking bike!

  27. @Tartan1749

    I’ve found ridewithgps.com to be the most accurate with regard to elevation and grades. I notified Strava this morning that they have a 125m climb incorrect in that it only crosses 2 40″² contour lines. They also have my max climb as a little over 10m high. Not to be trusted absolutely, that’s for sure.

    A recent route had mapmyride reporting a stretch as a 3% grade when it actually had several spikes at 10-12%.   I think mapmyride is very generous with their averaging and sparse with their data points.

  28. @itburns

    Damn – premature posting.  Ridewithgps was much closer to reality.

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    start_el('?display_element(Object(stdClass), Array, 1, 0, Array, '?@Nate

    Can’t wait to get this bad girl out on some gravel.

    Is that the new steel rig you had built?

  30. @RedRanger Yessir.

  31. @Ron un corridore is literally a runner, from the verb: correre – to run. It is used here to mean simply racer.

  32. exception 'ImagickException' with message 'unable to open image `/nas/wp/www/cluster-40013/velominati//wp-content/plugins/dm-albums/php/image.php?degrees=0&scale=yes&width=600&height=700&quality=85&maintain_aspect=yes&rounding=nearest&image=/home/frankdstrack/velominati.com/wp-content/uploads/readers/scaler911/2013.05.08.21.33.05/2/IMG_4677.JPG': No such file or directory @ error/blob.c/OpenBlob/2638' in /nas/wp/www/cluster-40013/velominati/wp-content/themes/velominati/generics.php:1269 Stack trace: #0 /nas/wp/www/cluster-40013/velominati/wp-content/themes/velominati/generics.php(1269): Imagick->__construct('/nas/wp/www/clu...') #1 [internal function]: dm_replace_image_embeds('

    start_el('?display_element(Object(stdClass), Array, 1, 0, Array, '?@PeakInTwoYears

    @scaler911

    Great racing! We have a little gem here in P-Town called “Otto Miller”. It’s a soul crusher:

    Oooohhhh…the main climb to Smoke Ranch segment is almost as steep as Newberry (which I know well enough) and almost twice as long. On gravel. Groan-worthy.

    Ooo now will be the kind of bike you pull out on a day when you feel like dishing out the V to all that come across you!  Looks sweet!

  33. Great article and the footage is stunning.  On the 2011 version early on there is some Enrico Moricone in the background, could be from a fistful of dollars or a few dollars more, and later there is some of the soundtrack from the good the bad and the ugly, those tracks would be awesome backing the whole thing!

    Great to be firmly in to the summer stories and living the dream through watching a Grand Tour once more!

  34. @Tartan1749

    I’ve found ridewithgps.com to be the most accurate with regard to elevation and grades. I notified Strava this morning that they have a 125m climb incorrect in that it only crosses 2 40″² contour lines. They also have my max climb as a little over 10m high. Not to be trusted absolutely, that’s for sure.

    Interesting point, I have been using ridewithgps now for a few years, dabbled with Strava and binned it but also use Garmin connect, simply as a backup for my Garmin device.

    Ridewithgps is by far the most accurate on gradients, distances and calories (I am sans powermeter), and I not am sure why.  I get some ridiculous gradients on my Garmin and some stupid calorific figures which, if I believed them would make me wonder why I was on 65kgs!!  You would have thought that Garmin would be the most accurate seeing as it is their data…..

  35. I would have thought that too, but my home location regularly drifts in elevation as much as 100 metres. ‘Oh, right, -74 metres, that was when I chose to ignore the bridge and instead rode on the river bottom. Clearly, the virtual power figures were ‘way off!’ given the 5 metres/second head current. Dodging those fucking sturgeon….no indication of said hazard ANYWHERE. WTF?’

  36. After witnessing two KT riders with two Garmins getting two different sets of directions trying to get us around L-B-L, all I can say is thank Merckx for roadworkers and locals.

  37. @brett

    Word. The only thing worse than no data is bad data, and I’ve never known my Garmin to be right, even when riding in lightly shaded areas.

    I’d rather ride on feel than have a machine feed me the Anti V.

  38. exception 'ImagickException' with message 'unable to open image `/nas/wp/www/cluster-40013/velominati//wp-content/plugins/dm-albums/php/image.php?degrees=0&scale=yes&width=600&height=700&quality=85&maintain_aspect=yes&rounding=nearest&image=/home/frankdstrack/velominati.com/wp-content/uploads/readers/Nate/2013.05.09.17.19.27/1/DSC_0234 small.jpg': No such file or directory @ error/blob.c/OpenBlob/2638' in /nas/wp/www/cluster-40013/velominati/wp-content/themes/velominati/generics.php:1269 Stack trace: #0 /nas/wp/www/cluster-40013/velominati/wp-content/themes/velominati/generics.php(1269): Imagick->__construct('/nas/wp/www/clu...') #1 [internal function]: dm_replace_image_embeds('

    start_el('?display_element(Object(stdClass), Array, 1, 0, Array, '?@RedRanger

    @Nate

    Can’t wait to get this bad girl out on some gravel.

    Is that the new steel rig you had built?

    Really digging the seat stays – can’t wait to see it built up!

  39. exception 'ImagickException' with message 'unable to open image `/nas/wp/www/cluster-40013/velominati//wp-content/plugins/dm-albums/php/image.php?degrees=0&scale=yes&width=600&height=700&quality=85&maintain_aspect=yes&rounding=nearest&image=/home/frankdstrack/velominati.com/wp-content/uploads/readers/Nate/2013.05.09.17.19.27/1/DSC_0234 small.jpg': No such file or directory @ error/blob.c/OpenBlob/2638' in /nas/wp/www/cluster-40013/velominati/wp-content/themes/velominati/generics.php:1269 Stack trace: #0 /nas/wp/www/cluster-40013/velominati/wp-content/themes/velominati/generics.php(1269): Imagick->__construct('/nas/wp/www/clu...') #1 [internal function]: dm_replace_image_embeds('

    start_el('?display_element(Object(stdClass), Array, 1, 0, Array, '?@Tobin

    @RedRanger

    @Nate

    Can’t wait to get this bad girl out on some gravel.

    Is that the new steel rig you had built?

    Really digging the seat stays – can’t wait to see it built up!

    Kirk?

  40. exception 'ImagickException' with message 'unable to open image `/nas/wp/www/cluster-40013/velominati//wp-content/plugins/dm-albums/php/image.php?degrees=0&scale=yes&width=600&height=700&quality=85&maintain_aspect=yes&rounding=nearest&image=/home/frankdstrack/velominati.com/wp-content/uploads/readers/Nate/2013.05.09.17.19.27/1/DSC_0234 small.jpg': No such file or directory @ error/blob.c/OpenBlob/2638' in /nas/wp/www/cluster-40013/velominati/wp-content/themes/velominati/generics.php:1269 Stack trace: #0 /nas/wp/www/cluster-40013/velominati/wp-content/themes/velominati/generics.php(1269): Imagick->__construct('/nas/wp/www/clu...') #1 [internal function]: dm_replace_image_embeds('

    start_el('?display_element(Object(stdClass), Array, 1, 0, Array, '?@Tobin@DerHoggz

    @Tobin

    @RedRanger

    @Nate

    Can’t wait to get this bad girl out on some gravel.

    Is that the new steel rig you had built?

    Really digging the seat stays – can’t wait to see it built up!

    Kirk?

    Yes, Kirk.  Major hooky will be in effect for build-up day.

  41. @DerHoggz Not following you…James Tiberious?

  42. @Tobin

    @DerHoggz Not following you…James Tiberious?

    David Kirk, Kirk Frameworks.

  43. @Nate Cool – even better this is only a few hours from where I live!

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